Forty-Four

By a river, the Sun was a big, orange orb, just setting. I saw a group of ibis landing in the water. One of them came to me. It was dark, but I could make out its silhouette against the dark red of the Sun. We were standing in ankle-deep, crystal clear water. We could see fish, tadpoles, larvae and other living things moving, swimming.

Then the water thickened, it became muddy. “It’s how it is, there are cycles, the water thickens, then clears up” the ibis explained. And, with its long beak, it picked a larva. I thought it would eat it, but threw it behind its back instead. At that instant, the thing transformed into a fully developed insect – a dragonfly or a butterfly, and it flew away. The ibis did the same with other forms of life in the mud, they all turned into their fully developed selves and flew or jumped away.

“But some of them you eat or discard, don’t you?”

The ibis didn’t reply, just looked at me silently.

“How do they know what is going to happen when you single them out?”

“They don’t.”

The river turned into a wood, and the ibis transformed into a woodpecker. I could see bugs and grubs deep under the bark of a giant tree. The woodpecker looked at me intently, then started to do its job.

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